This morning my Nissan Cherry Europe GTi was rudely awoken from its winter slumber and wheeled out into the rain for a trip to the testing station. Normally, I refrain from taking it out in the rain if I can help it but the MOT test was already booked so I didn’t have a lot of choice. I have had its fruity little Alfa boxer engine running at least once a month over the winter but this was its first time out on the road since September last year. It’s good to have it back on the road as it’s a fun car to hustle along on twisty back lanes, even in the wet.
Some years ago, I purchased this old, framed photograph of Nissan’s first President, Yoshisuke Aikawa. It dates from 1956, a period during which he was a member of the Japanese government. I thought it to be quite an unusual thing to find at the time, but more on the photo in a moment. Firstly, for those who are unfamiliar with the name… who was this man? As regular readers would expect, naturally there’s a Datsun connection because Yoshisuke Aikawa was instrumental in the creation of Nissan Motor Company in the 1930’s and was a major force in Japanese industry before the Second World War. After the defeat of Japan he again became a key factor in the country’s post war recovery…
I’d wager that there aren’t many examples of the S10 model left in the world, especially as they were sold in few countries to start with. This one is for sale in Oregon at the moment and looks to be a really great shape. Launched in 1975, the S10 model was the second generation Nissan Silvia, preceded by the Fairlady based CSP311 which had ceased its very limited production in 1968 after only 554 were built. In the US, the model was badged as a Datsun 200SX and came complete with colossal Federal spec bumpers to replace the svelte versions seen on the Japanese models. I don’t believe this model was sold in Europe at all. I did once see images online of one in Portugal, although that looked to be a US import as it featured ‘those’ bumpers. Continue Reading
Spring is nearly here so it’s time to think about getting cars out of their winter hibernation. I usually aim to have them on the road for late April so, as I’ve got a ton of other stuff to do at the moment, I figured that I better make a start now! The first one into the workshop is Ol’ Bluey, my 1962 Bluebird wagon which needs it’s exhaust fixing as it had started to leak at the end of last year. Back in 2011, when I got the Ol’ Bluey back on the road after it’s thirty eight year slumber, I fabricated a new exhaust system for it but only from the existing front pipe back. On reflection, I should have done the front pipe as well as it’s a bit of a mess…
After a great deal of work using the minidigger which I borrowed from my neighbour, plus a fair amount of backbreaking work with a shovel, I now have a completed yard and driveway. I could have done with all of this parking space a few years back when I had loads more cars! There’s still plenty of work to do to finish the job such as putting in an edging along the side of it and some paving (the existing concrete paths are getting paved with Victorian Diamond pattern bricks). I also need to take up all of the concrete next to the house and grass that area. It’s really nice to have lots of space in the yard though, especially as it’s no longer muddy when it rains. I had the opportunity to roll the surface with a huge industrial vibrating roller so it’s now compacted hard enough to jack cars up on. I’m keen to get the ground work finished as I want to start on the workshop itself… new cladding, an extension and new window frames. Lots more work!
I acquired this interesting item earlier this week. It’s a tiny printed paper (35mm x 55mm) which has apparently been taken from an old box of matches… and judging by the illustration on it, it must have been a very old matchbox as that’s a Datsun Type 14 Phaeton from around 1935! Either that or it’s possibly a later commemorative but that seems unlikely as those sort of things usual feature the Datsun Type 11 which is regarded as the first Datsun. It’s unusual to see any commercial advertising relating to pre-war Datsuns. If anyone can shed any light on what the text says, I would be very interested to know!
I’m still very busy digging holes and laying concrete here at home at the present, so I’ve not had much free time to put together material for the site. However, I did make time to scan this fascination Japanese trade catalogue from 1952. Issued by the Motor Trade Association of Japan, this thirty eight page catalogue lists quite a variety of vehicles including trucks and heavy plant machinery. It comes from a time when the Japanese motor industry was still in recovery from the Second World War and so many of the vehicles on offer had a distinctly pre-war look to them such as the Datsun DC-3 Sports, yet a few others, such as the Toyopet sedans look quite up to date for 1952. Also included are the quirky looking Datsun DB series and Thrift models which were very short lived and exceedingly rare today.
Also interesting are some of the weird specialist vehicles shown, in particular the bizarre looking Nissan ‘Sound Car’ and Service Car’, both based on a Nissan 390 bus. It’s interesting to see the long extinct Japanese make ‘Ohta’ shown too. Ohta built a number of cars from around 1934 right through to 1957 after which the company was absorbed into Kurogane. There’s also a Datsun connection with the company as Yuichi Ohta designed the aforementioned Datsun DC-3 as well as the later, fibreglass bodied S211, forerunner to the Fairlady series. Click through to have a look… Continue Reading